San Francisco, CA — The gala for Marvin Hamlisch’s Birthday at the Fairmont’s Venetian Room Sunday night humored, touched hearts, spoke to souls and made memories as music legends honored him, with lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman flying to San Francisco from Los Angeles to pay tribute to their dear friend. Marilyn Bergman, blond hair pulled back in a pony tail and she in her glasses with heavy black rims, told a funny story about Hamlisch.
Marilyn Bergman spoke softly in her husky whisper then took her seat in front while her husband stepped on stage. He, Alan Bergman, to the astonishment and awe of the 300 lucky audience members in the intimate venue, sang the song he wrote which Barbra Streisand immortalized. “The Way We Were” came out beautifully, clear, soft, gentle, with warmth and affection. It was magic yet real, from the heart. It wasn’t another award winning Broadway show tune, it was a personal experience everybody in the room will treasure.
Alan Bergman sang tenderly the song he wrote, “The Way We Were”
Alan had led into the song by saying, “Happy Birthday Marvin”. Sunday Marvin would have been 69.
Marilyn spoke fondly of young Marvin. “When we met Marvin he was just beginning but he had everything it takes” she began. “He had just done ‘The Way We Were’ with Pollack and I wish Pollack could be here but he’s with Marvin somewhere”.
She went on to talk about the special bond between composer and lyricist, a kind of parental pride and pleasure in watching what you have spawned grow and thrive. She described life as a big sand box, Marvin with a happy heart. Ideas would tumble out of him. We would laugh and eat or talk about eating and make music. Trust, respect, love, the joy of being together.
“He could have been a great stand-up comic but his mother made him practice”.
“He could have been a food critic but his mother made him practice”.
“He could have been an ambassador or played for the Yankees but his mother made him practice”.
“Thank you Mrs. Hamlisch.”
… and thank you, Marilyn and Alan Bergman.